CH Ventures, LLC
Based in Wilmette, Illinois, Cameel Halim guides CH Ventures, LLC, and maintains a focus on projects that improve Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. A 1982 article in the Chicago Tribune brought focus to Cameel Halim’s unique approach to real estate and his commitment to rehabilitation in areas that suffered from a poor image and were difficult to develop in.
One such thoroughfare was Kenmore Avenue, which runs through the Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods and had many gang-controlled buildings. Looking beyond the area’s reputation, Mr. Halim personally connected with an Edgewater Community Council member and learned about the efforts that were underway to make the area a better place to live.
Focusing on the integrity of the neighborhood, Mr. Halim’s team undertook a painstaking restoration process that brought the common-corridor buildings back to structural soundness while maintaining historic exteriors. Original bathroom fixtures were kept, while woodwork, landscaping, and parquet floors were replaced and rehabilitated. The newly remodeled apartments were rented out at reasonable rates, which reflected the low price of the original acquisition, not the quality of the units.
The owner of the newly-opened Halim Family Museum of Time & Glass in Evanston, Illinois, Cameel Halim employs his real estate experience to save local historic buildings. Alongside working to prevent the destruction of old houses in the Kenilworth area, Cameel Halim has also revitalized old and run-down buildings of little significance, such as common-corridor apartments on Kenmore Avenue in Edgewater.
The Edgewater Community Council became concerned about certain buildings on Kenmore Avenue which were becoming a blight on the neighborhood. These buildings included a particularly problematic series of common-corridor apartments, which have all the apartment doors opening out into a single corridor. Their existence contributed substantially to the area’s slipping reputation.
So far 17 of the 47 common-corridor buildings have changed ownership and been rehabilitated. Low acquisition costs allow the new owners to offer the renovated apartments for reasonably low rents to tenants who have been screened for the likelihood of stability. One of the buildings also serves as the location for an artists-in-residence program headed by Jack O’Callaghan.
These efforts continue to bear fruit in the neighborhood, bringing back its respectability and driving out undesirable elements. The new owners’ success also proves that buildings and neighborhoods in economically challenged areas can gain new life through investment and committed rehabilitation efforts.